May 30, 2023

 Model photographed by Rochelle Brock / Refinery29 for Getty Images

Body care has long taken a backseat to facial care, but skin doesn’t stop being skin from the neck down. For years, one could peruse facial care aisles and marvel at the many vitamin C serums, moisturizers, and eye creams. The body care options, however, have always seemed basic. Maybe you’d find something eye-catching like a caffeine-infused lotion purported to firm skin or exfoliating sugar scrub. But that was it. We’re happy to report body care is finally stepping into the spotlight in a big way. So, what’s driving this trend? There are several catalysts for the current shift in focus to body care.

What’s Caused the Rise of Body Care?

People are craving at-home self-care experiences and body care is a part of that. A beautifully scented body wash can transport you to a far-flung tropical island. Slathering on a deliciously creamy lotion provides an indulgent, spa-like moment without leaving the house.

But it’s not just a need for self-care that’s guiding the shift. “We’ve seen an increase in demand for effective, results-driven body care formulas,” says Annie Kreighbaum, co-founder of Soft Services. “The body is such an emotional topic, and people are desperate for solutions. If you can make a product that finally works for someone who has been struggling for a long time, that’s magic.”

Modern consumers are also cleaning up their act (err shower and vanity). “Now, more than ever, people know what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body,” says Shea Marie, founder and CEO of The Feelist. A heightened awareness of toxic ingredients has pushed many conscious shoppers to reconsider their personal care lineup. They’re now opting for thoughtful formulas featuring fruit acids, botanical oils, and shea butter. Retailers and brands have taken notice of that. The result is a wave of “cleaner” body care launches.

Woman's back

The Current State of Body Care

Many covetable facial care brands have been expanding into body care in 2022. Tula launched a glow-giving exfoliating cleanser called Take Care + Polish ($34) that’s powered by a trio of AHAs (glycolic, malic, and lactic acids), lemon peel, hibiscus flower, and probiotics. They also debuted a body moisturizer packed with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. Iconic skincare brand Kate Somerville formulated their cult-classic Exfolikate for the body. Wallet-friendly Naturium just debuted a Multi-Oil Hydrating Body Wash ($16) that’s the body care equivalent of oil cleansing your face.

We’ve also seen a rise in targeted treatments for concerns like body acne, keratosis pilaris, ingrown hairs, and loss of firmness. Soft Services uses zinc in its Clearing Mist ($26) formula to treat body acne. Retinol—the staple ingredient in almost every anti-aging elixir—​is the star of the Versed Firm Ground Retinol Body Lotion ($18). And the Drunk Elephant TLC Glycolic Body Lotion ($25) harnesses the power of AHAs and hyaluronic acid to kick dry, dull skin to the curb.

Of course, it’s not all about newness. Some brands were well ahead of the curve, and it’s safe to say without their dedication, the current body care category wouldn’t be nearly as robust or exciting. Eco-friendly OGs MUTHA and C & The Moon, both of which were born in the kitchen, continue to broaden the appeal of “clean” body care. Bawdy Beauty (known for its butt masks), Saltair, and Nécessaire have made a business out of treating body care like facial care even before it was trendy.

Behaviors are changing in the body care space, too. Self-care practices like full-body gua sha, dry brushing, and lymphatic drainage are gaining mainstream attention. High-tech beauty gadgets are no longer reserved for the face either. According to Cult Beauty founder Alexia Inge, the e-tailer saw sales of body tools like NuFace NuBODY Skin Toning Device ($399) and  Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpectraLite BodyWare Pro ($435) skyrocket by 175.78% year-over-year.

Final Thoughts

Bottom line: Body care is having a major moment, one that’s long overdue. Today, shelves are stocked with innovative new launches for our head-to-toe skincare needs. You can easily find a hydrating lotion with effective, non-toxic ingredients. Acne-fighting body washes no longer smell astringent and dry out of the skin.

The advancements in bodycare highlight the increasing consumer demand and show it’s a category brands will keep investing in. We’re excited to see how bodycare products and tools will continue to evolve in years to come. There’s no turning your back on this trend.